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The social side of social media : technology or collaboration?
conference contributionposted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by E Tay, Matthew Allen
This paper discusses how course design may draw upon social media in order to teach students appropriate skills for a network society in the context of team-work based learning. The emphasis is not upon web 2.0 and social media as inherently suited to providing educational solutions, but upon the ways in which they can be adapted by course designers within the framework of explicit learning objectives. More specifically, we provide a case study of how the use of social media in a blended or wholly-online learning environment provides affordances for team-based collaborative learning, especially when incorporated within a course design that encourages independent, self-directed and authentic learning. This paper argues we need to assess the social aspects of social media, rather than upon the technological, that is, avoid the fetishisation of 'apps,' through the creation of assessment that alternately foregrounds a critical appraisal of web 2.0 technologies and places onus upon the students to develop, with guidance, teamwork skills and processes. We provide an example of how it is possible to integrate web 2.0 technologies into their learning processes and assessment, in order to teach about the realities of collaborating with others in small teams in a work environment increasingly mediated by the Internet. In order to achieve these learning outcomes, course design needs to balance scaffolding with the need to place the imperative for learning specific content and skills upon the students, the latter through the provision of assessment outcomes and resources that the students need to work towards together.